TPM News

On MSNBC yesterday, former McCain campaign economic adviser Doug Holtz-Eakin faced a tough question from Dylan Ratigan. For all the Democrats flaws, Ratigan mused, isn't being ruled by alcoholics better than being ruled by alcoholic coke-heads?

No joke.

"Are we setting ourselves up to quit drinking by beginning to snort cocaine in November in addition to drinking?" Ratigan asked Holtz-Eakin.

In a telling answer, Holtz-Eakin confessed that the Republican party has been too obsessed with Sarah Palin, and Palin-like personalities, and has thus not had enough time to prepare its leaders to govern.

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Obama Pitches Road Spending, Tax Incentives In Ohio Reuters reports: "President Barack Obama will push billions of dollars in new business tax incentives and spending on big construction projects on Wednesday, as he tries to convince a balky Congress to pass measures intended to spur the economy and create jobs. Obama will travel to Ohio to tout programs that include accelerating $200 billion in business tax write-offs, which the White House says would eventually cost just $30 billion, an infrastructure spending boost of at least $50 billion, and increasing and permanently extending a tax credit for research and development costing $100 billion over 10 years. Obama's speech is expected to be strongly political and it comes less than two months before congressional elections when his Democrats face the threat of big losses."

Obama's Day Ahead President Obama and Vice President Biden will receive the presidential daily briefing at 9:45 a.m. ET. Obama will depart from the White House at 12:05 p.m. ET, and depart from Andrews Air Force Base at 12:20 p.m. ET, arriving at 1:30 p.m. ET in Cleveland, Ohio. He will deliver remarks on the economy at 2:10 p.m. ET, at Cuyahoga Community College West Campus in Parma, Ohio. He will depart from Cleveland at 3:50 p.m. ET, arriving back at Andrews Air Force Base at 5 p.m. ET, and at the White House at 5:15 p.m. ET. He will meet with senior advisers at 5:20 p.m. ET.

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Former state Attorney General Kelly Ayotte was sailing along in New Hampshire's Republican senate primary. She was way ahead of her Republican opponents -- and her potential Dem rival Rep. Paul Hodes -- in the polls, was backed by the establishment GOP, and was even counted among the ranks of Sarah Palin's "mama grizzlies" when the former half-term governor endorsed Ayotte back in July.

But somewhere between the primary in-fighting and concerns about Ayotte's conservative record, former state Board of Education chairman and Tea Party-backed candidate Ovide Lamontagne began to gain some ground.

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A federal judge on Tuesday dismissed a challenge to the constitutionality of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention law, granting Attorney General Eric Holder's motion to dismiss the challenge to the law that protects gay, bisexual and transgender individuals from bias-motivated violence because the plaintiffs lacked jurisdiction.

Judge Thomas L. Ludington of the Eastern District of Michigan ruled Tuesday that the claim by Michigan Christians that they would be prosecuted under the hate crimes law was entirely speculative, as they would have had to be at risk of committing violent acts or would have had to admit to committing such acts in the past to be at risk of prosecution.

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The Tea Party Express has attacked Rep. Mike Castle for raising campaign cash from out-of-state in his bid to be Delaware's next senator -- but what do you know, they have done the exact same thing for their candidate.

Castle faces Christine O'Donnell on Tuesday's Republican primary ballot. O'Donnell backers say polls are suggesting she's within striking distance of defeating Castle, a longtime member of Congress who has never lost an election. His decades-long career is one reason Open Secrets has him ranked as No. 7 on its list of the Top 10 candidates based on how many of their donations come from outside of their home state.

Castle has raised $852,963, or 51.4% of his total, from donors not living in Delaware.

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Attorney General Eric Holder, after meeting with interfaith leaders this afternoon, released a statement this afternoon saying that anti-Muslim violence won't be tolerated.

"As the Attorney General has noted on previous occasions, violence against individuals or institutions based on religious bias is intolerable and the Department will bring anyone who commits such crimes to justice," spokesman Matthew Miller said in a statement.

At the meeting, Miller said, "the Attorney General reiterated the Department's strong commitment to prosecuting hate crimes, and noted several successes the Department has achieved in recent months."

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A week after leading the charge of polls showing the GOP with a huge lead in generic congressional ballot polls, Gallup is out with new numbers today that dump a bucket of cold water on that very idea.

According to the latest Gallup survey of registered voters, Republicans and Democrats are tied on the congressional ballot question with each drawing 46% of the vote. Last week's poll showed the GOP ahead by 10, leading 51-41.

Not surprisingly, Republicans flooded reporters' inboxes with the results of last week's Gallup poll. Same story for coverage of today's big national polls from ABC News/Washington Post and NBC News/Wall Street Journal, both of which showed Republicans with big leads among likely voters. Tonight, it's the Democrats' turn to hit the "fwd" button, blanketing the fourth estate with links to the Gallup poll ostensibly bursting the "Democratic strategy = rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic" narrative.

How long will the euphoria last for Democrats?

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Democratic incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet is leading tea party favorite and gaffetastic Republican nominee Ken Buck in the Colorado Senate race, according to a new poll out today.

The survey of 751 likely voters by Democratic pollster FM3 and Republican pollster Public Opinion Strategies shows Bennet leading Buck 43-40. The pollsters describe the race as a "dead heat" and note that "a Libertarian candidate garners 5% of the vote - greater than the margin between the two major party candidates."

Indeed, past polling of the race has shown the race to be very, very close. The TPM Poll Average shows Buck ahead 46.0-42.8, which is basically too close to call this far from election day.

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Alex Sink, the Democratic nominee in the Florida Senate race, has a new ad responding to Republican nominee Rick Scott's attack ad that linked her to President Obama. And in a telling sign of the political situation nowadays, Sink does not actually defend or endorse Obama -- she simply says that the subject is irrelevant to the issues in this campaign.

"Unfortunately, Rick Scott seems to think running for governor is about President Obama. That's a big difference between us," Sinks says. "I'm Alex Sink. While Rick Scott's focused on Obama, I'm focused on creating jobs, and giving tax relief to Florida's small businesses. Rick Scott just talks about Obama, while I have a plan to make Florida's schools stronger. He can just keep attacking Obama. But you and I know, we need a governor who attacks Florida's challenges."

A recent Rasmussen poll gave Sink a narrow edge of 48%-47%, including leaners.

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Republican Senate candidate Pat Toomey is using his latest TV ads to hit Democrat Joe Sestak anew over his support for the 2008 financial bailouts, and to opine on the country's future against the backdrop of a newborn baby.

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